There is a popular blog whose Christian author recently posted about ethics in adoption. The author is an adoptive parent who adopted internationally. I will not name the blog or author, but it was impressive to see how wide-ranging her impact was – our agency was inundated with emails shortly after this blog was posted. There is something to rejoice in here: It’s a truly wonderful thing to know that so many families are concerned about the ethics of international adoption. The blog didn’t mention our agency or address us, but since so many families wrote to us following the blog post we thought it would be helpful to respond.
First, there are a lot of things this blog post got right. The author was absolutely right in noting that adoption processes should not be about adoptive parents’ rights to a child. She is absolutely right to grieve over the abuses, coercions and broken families that have resulted from fraud, lies and corruption. And she is absolutely right to say that adoption should not be motivated by a desire to provide children with a wealthier family. Although there are points on this blog post that we certainly didn’t agree with and wouldn’t endorse, on these issues she is right, and ought to be commended.
At America World Adoption, we don’t believe our agency, our staff or the adoption systems we work in are perfect. We’re not naïve enough to believe that there are not children and families who have been very hurt by fraud, abuses or corruption. We know this has happened to some families and we grieve with you. If there are cases of adoption abuses, our agency stands with other adoption professionals asking for the abuses to be prosecuted. But we don’t want to paint a picture of international adoption as a system that is primarily composed of fraudulent cases. We don’t believe that. We also believe that most of the adoptive families we work with care first and foremost about children. We believe they deeply and compassionately care about those children’s birth families. We also believe that children living in orphanages should have an opportunity to grow up with parents: if birth parent reunification isn’t possible, kinship placements should be sought; if this isn’t possible, domestic adoption should be considered; when this isn’t a possibility, international adoption can be a great, appropriate and God-ordained way of ensuring that children grow up with families. Finally, we want to say, loud and clear, that we unapologetically don’t believe international adoption is a “last resort”. Abusive families, orphanages, foster care, group homes, or growing up as a street child are worse options for a child.
The topic of corruption and fraud in international adoption truly is helpful and hopefully will result in more informed and prepared parents. We hope and pray that this “trendy topic” leads to true changes and doesn’t result in fewer children growing up with parents. It’s possible to continue to improve our imperfect systems and continue to serve children and families at the same time. That’s our commitment and we hope if you have feedback on this subject for how we can do this better that you’ll share it with us.
-Brian Luwis, founder and CEO